When you hear “happy holidays” greetings shared with friends and strangers alike, it’s easy to lose sight of why the holidays really are happy for gamers. We’re blessed in the fourth quarter with a flood of video games, though at times it’s a bit overwhelming. The deluge makes sense, as people are buying games for holiday gifts, but it underscores three reasons the holidays really are happy for gamers.
For starters, the fourth quarter represents an end to the doldrums between March and September. Not many console game publishers gamble on releasing a high-profile game in January or February. Consumers are generally penniless after the holiday shopping season, so it can be a tough time. March sees a few game releases, giving us a taste of greatness, but then that’s it for months.
Late spring and summer are spent playing casual games, casino games, maybe a few Games with Gold or PlayStation Plus titles. Yet nothing usually jumps into the fray in Q2 or Q3 that will hold serious game of the year consideration. Which leads directly to the second reason the holidays really are happy for gamers.
Gamers, and the gaming media, tend to have short attention spans. With that in mind, it’s important for major publishers to release their highest-profile and best games in Q4 to increase their odds in all those Game of the Year considerations. We’ve all seen solid games ship throughout the year, but Destiny in September marked the first game that really stood a chance at 2014 GOTY, and even so it may have fallen off gamers’ radar in the Q4 crush.
Yet while that crush can seem overwhelming, if gamers handle their new games strategically they can make it through those dry times in Q2 and Q3. People often overlook games in Q4 due to the sheer volume of new titles. In many respects that’s understandable; there’s just “too much good stuff,” as a certain convenience store would like you to say.
But that volume can lead to some great undiscovered gems in Q4 and beyond. There’s no shortage of advertising during the holidays, but the most-publicized games are those from the biggest publishers and with biggest anticipated return on investment. Those aren’t the only ones for sale, and in some cases, they don’t even end up being the most highly regarded.
As a result, a whole host of titles will be overlooked during the holidays, not just because there are so many, but because there are so many hours in the day. Some titles will languish on store shelves, while others will sit idly by on a gamers’ own entertainment center waiting for a little attention. That attention may not come in Q4. And frankly, gamers would be well-served if it didn’t.
The holidays are happy for most people, of course, not just gamers. But the flood of new-game releases, particularly of high-quality ones, certainly helps Q4 seem even happier for gamers than the average consumer. Play the holidays well, and you can keep that cheer going well through the dull times of the year.